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The Value Lesson of Playing Video Games

April 26, 2012

My first job was mowing lawns.  Around age 11/12, I picked up where my older brother dropped off (after he got a job at the local pizza place) and started my neighborhood circuit mowing and bagging grass.  Sometimes it was for pay, and sometimes for barter.  I actually used to push the mower about a half mile up the hill to mow the lawn of a retired professor who tutored me in Latin so I could get through high-school.

I also had a paper route for a couple years, and I used to not only deliver the papers, but then I’d go around collecting money and living off the tips I made.  As soon as I was old enough, I started at Wendy’s for minimum wage and worked my way through the rest of school and into college… you get the point.

The ability to work for my neighbors and make money was key to my learning the value of hard work for reward, and it gave me the basics of dedication that I still utilize today to power through jobs that I dislike.  So I’m especially sensitive when I hear that the government would like kids to not risk injury and just stay inside while adults do the work around town.

The Department of Labor is poised to put the finishing touches on a rule that would apply child-labor laws to children working on family farms, prohibiting them from performing a list of jobs on their own families’ land.

Under the rules, children under 18 could no longer work “in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials.”

“Prohibited places of employment,” a Department press release read, “would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.”

I’ll admit that this isn’t about mowing lawns, or throwing circulars on the front stoop… at least not yet.  This is all about the government deciding what work can be done in what cases in a fairly arbitrary fashion just because it thinks it can.  If you think I’m over-reaching, note in the article this little gem:

The new regulations, first proposed August 31 by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, would also revoke the government’s approval of safety training and certification taught by independent groups like 4-H and FFA, replacing them instead with a 90-hour federal government training course.

Go read the whole thing. Please.  This is about government control of labor at levels that would send the ACLU screaming of we were talking other “family and home-based practices.”  I guess, ‘get out of my bedroom,” is cool, but, “get out of my field,” isn’t.

At this point, we’re just down to telling kids to play video games in between bouts of jumping jacks, and wait until they graduate from a government-funded college arts program before they try to get a job.  Well, if they haven’t started getting that ethic well before then, I can see why they won’t get a job then, either.

Updated:  Well, that was fastIt’s off the books already.  As AP says: “Obama administration decides against picking pointless, hugely politically perilous fight in election year.”

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 26, 2012 11:08 am

    Your history and mine sound very close indeed. Mowing lawns, paper route, and (in my case) bagging groceries a couple of years later beginning at age 12. Years later, worked for minimum wage in fast food. Later, I worked at (and ran) a Wendy’s, and did many other restaurant and other jobs before opening my own tech business in the 1970s.

    Along the way, I had many young people working for me on school work programs, which was good for both sides.

    I suspect that the ideal for folks on the left would be a retirement age of 18. They can all live off of the evil rich, and actually “working” is just too plebeian.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

    • April 26, 2012 11:59 am

      Mayo, ketchup, pickle, onion, tomato, lettuce, and mustard on the burger.

      (That’s the order you put the condiments on the bun at Wendy’s. I still remember after nearly three decades.)

      • April 26, 2012 10:28 pm

        *chuckle*

        Some years later, I used to use Wendy’s hamburgers to teach binary math. I’d call out a number, and the instant response would be a description of the hamburger with the eight condiments (including cheese) either on or off. The class could quickly translate either direction. We had fun. There were also eight wall switches controlling the classroom’s florescent lights — which caused the odd glance from people passing in the hallway.

        Obama will begin his highly perilous (to the US) fights after the election year. If we let him.

        ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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